Life after College Soccer

You might say Johan Frisell ’97 has two passions. The first, playing soccer, led him to Westmont. The second, a deep faith in Jesus Christ, developed out of his experiences at Westmont.

Johan grew up in the small town of Ludvika, Sweden, and excelled in sports. He was named to both the junior national soccer team and the junior national hockey team while a youngster, akin to being among the country’s top 20 players in those sports.

Johan came to the West Coast in 1992. He had been recruited by UCSB, among other schools. So he flew into San Francisco, rented a car and drove down the coast to visit them. Santa Barbara was his last stop, and he fell in love, he said.

Things didn’t work out with UCSB. So he enrolled at Santa Barbara City College, and began to play soccer with the Santa Barbara Soccer Club. Shortly thereafter, he met Westmont soccer Coach Dave Wolf, who was impressed with Johan’s skills. Wolf invited him to come up and visit the campus.

“I took one look and that was it,” Johan said. He came to Westmont the following fall.

While here, he made All American. “He’s the best defensive player I’ve coached in my eight years at Westmont,” Wolf said. “Johan became a Christian after he came to Westmont, and that’s the best part.”

What was it about Westmont that helped him develop his faith?

“Just having role models around you, helping you, guiding you,” Johan said. “Especially at Westmont, there are so many people who care about you.”

Johan also met his wife, Bethany Darnall ’96 Frisell, at Westmont, and she has played a large role in his deepening faith. She was a resident assistant the first year he came to campus, and had been a youth missionary to Asia based in Hawaii prior to coming to Westmont.

Today, he is a financial adviser with Tremblay Waibel Financial Services in Santa Barbara. Bethany is a teaching assistant at Montecito Union School. They attend Santa Barbara Community Church.

Johan also serves as assistant soccer coach under Wolf. He is a donor to the college, and helps each year with the annual golf marathon to benefit the athletic department.

“I really wanted to stay involved with Westmont soccer and give back. I think they’ve given me so much,” Johan said. “Plus it’s a way to support the college. I just really enjoy being around soccer and the fellowship with Dave (Wolf) and (assistant soccer Coach) Randy (Strawser).”

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